1 year. 365 good night kisses, with thousands more for good measure. And yet, just one year.

Was there really a time before you? We four fit so perfectly it feels as though we must have come into this world together.

You, sweet Avery, came with gusto. You were strong in my belly and you were strong on your way out. Your journey to our arms was fierce, with the two of us working together, while your dad cheered us on. I think you’re a little like me with your strength. You are so able to do things yourself. Sometimes at night you actually look at me with the sweetest I love you as you roll away and make me understand you need to go to sleep. You communicate what you want and what you need, you shower us with love and keep an eye out to make sure we are having as much fun as you are. But I’ve learned that you also want help and need attention. For every I can do it myself you have a I want to be a tiny baby in your arms. I admire your strength and am grateful for your need.

I hope you won’t be afraid of needing or wanting. I want you to know that it’s ok. I hope that you’ll always feel safe enough to ask for help, whether it’s from me or your dad, or from a person you date. You’re worth it and I have a pretty good hunch that people who meet you will want to help you if you’ll let them. Don’t be mad about your strength, it’s a wonderful thing.

Those beautiful arms of yours will help you embrace life and all it has to offer you, your strong legs will carry you anywhere you need to go and your powerful spirit will see you through the toughest times. And if your own strength ever fails you, you’ll have me, your mama ready to do anything she can for her amazing Avery.

I love you, Ave.